For several years I've been a panel member of something called "Knowledge Networks."
What is Knowledge Networks? They say: "Knowledge Networks is a premier marketing information sciences company, founded in early 2000 by two Stanford University professors. We operate the only online consumer research panel that represents all aspects of the U.S. population." Why am I a panel member? Because, as they explain: "As a member of the panel, you will have a chance to help shape the products and services you use every day and to earn extra cash in the process! Our panel members are located across the United States, voicing their valuable opinions to help business and government better meet consumer needs."
So, I can earn $ for sounding off on matters both trivial and important. Tonight they have a special treat for me: I qualified to be one of the people to send in a response to Shrub's State of the Union address. They're giving me 10,000 extra points to watch tonight's State of the Union address, and then run upstairs to fill out the response survey before my personal views have a chance to be polluted by the Democrat's response. That means I have to listen to his speech, but at least I get to sound off about what he said afterward. As my friend, Cat, said today when I told her why I had to listen to the SotU, "Great! You tell 'em for us, Pamela!"
I'm keeping an open mind, I'll have you know. There's a chance that I'll be favorably impressed by our Prez, just like there is that chance that global warming will be reversed by Spring. I believe I'm a moderate.
EDIT:: Well, that was frustrating. I'm not referring to the fingernails-on-blackboard part of the evening, either--aside from Bush's usual nonsense, like his insistence on making his tax cuts permanent, insisting his unauthorized domestic surveillance was all legal and business-as-usual, and his pretending that he values bipartisan constructive feedback, Bush actually had some proposals I liked: a bipartisan committee to advise on technological ways to transfer the nation off of oil dependency, a national educational program to foster excellence in math and the hard sciences, some blather about fixing the entitlements (he started with a comment like, "because congress refused to fix social security last year," and was interrupted at that point with a standing ovation! glee! ). If he implements half of these new programs at all well, I could be happy with something out of the White-house this term. Of course, there's no way to pay for any of it, especially with the cost of his $&^4 glue-trap Iraq war. And how come we can't get rid of the opium trade in Afghanistan, when the Taliban managed to do it?
Anyway, my frustration was with the durn Knowledge Networks survey afterward. It was way too simplistic: "Do you approve or disapprove of the President's proposals?" There was no way to answer that, because some I actually approved of were in there with the "save marriage from being ruined" junk, so I just went generally negative without any opportunity to differentiate. The survey was therefore useless and divisive. Ick.